As a coach, I am always looking for opportunities to grow as a professional and to learn new methods to support others in being healed and whole. I spent all last week in Durham, North Carolina at Duke Integrative Wellness Center attending a workshop titled "Mindfulness for Professionals." While attending the conference I had the pleasure of learning with surgeons, ministers, midwives, yoga teachers, and other folks who are invested in supporting others in whole life wellness practices. It was awesome. On Thursday, I sat with two incredible ladies during lunch. A superficial conversation about the weather evolved into a deeply personal discussion about our childhoods. We'd had similar experiences, like stories, and identical heartbreaks. We had so much in common! One woman shared a story that she began with the statement, "I don't usually tell people this..." I listened intensely as she told a sad story about her childhood home. I couldn't take my eyes off her. I couldn't believe my what I was hearing. When she finished talking, I grabbed her hand and quietly responded, "Me too." Her painful truth was mine as well. I had never met another person who had the, almost, exact same experience I had. I never heard anyone else tell my story. She bravely told a story that I still struggle to share with others. She was so courageous! I was in awe of her. I asked this brave woman if I could give her a hug, and she blessed me with a sincere embrace. I held on to her and cried. In that moment the little girls within us felt less alone. We connected. Her "me too" was so healing for me.
In the past month, I have had several special moments of "me too" and I notice that they all begin with someone being vulnerable and taking a risk. It takes a lot of courage to tell your story without knowing if you'll be shamed or supported, embraced or dismissed, loved or left, or shut-down or seen. When we tell our stories we are able to assess which people are going to support, love, and stay with us no matter where we've been or who we've been. If we don't show up fully, we will never be loved. Hiding our truth allows people be in relationship with the illusion they have of who we are...the true us is left wondering will someone ever love me? When we tell our stories, we open ourselves up to the "me too's" or the beautiful moments of connection that remind us that we are never alone. This connection only occurs when someone is willing to be vulnerable.
As a girl, several women advised me to never tell a man everything about you. "There is some stuff he just shouldn't know" or "Men can't handle certain things so don't tell them" are common instructions given to many young women. We were taught to seek to create loving bonds with men while being dishonest, withholding, and manipulative. We were taught to hide our true selves: what happened to us, what we allowed for ourselves, who we were in the past, and what we really wanted and needed. It took me years to learn that behaviors like this would never result in creating a loving relationship. To love, one must be willing to be vulnerable. If he doesn't really know you, he can never really love you....Think about it.
What is most appealing to women, and men alike, is having someone know the real you and choosing to love you anyway. Despite all the fears, flaws, mistakes, issues, and imperfections, we seek to be loved in spirit and truth. This type of love is only created through radical honesty. Real love involves risk. Are you willing to tell your truth? Are you willing to tell the truth about you to you? Are you willing to share the real you with others?
Being vulnerable is not just about telling your truth to others. You must also be vulnerable with yourself. Are you being strait up with you? Are you doing what you are called to do with your life? Does your current relationship really contribute to your happiness? Are you really "okay"? We'd be honored to support you in creating a more loving life by trusting that the "truth will set you free." B. Well offers excellent coaching services. Let us support you in discovering the power of vulnerability. Here's to being brave!
In Spirit and Truth,
Dr. Adrianne R. Pinkney,
Integrative Wellness and Life Coach